Man, am I unhappy with the title of the article this week. Look at that thing. Isn’t that terrible? Worse than that, it’s actually the best I could come up with. I enjoy writing articles for this site, but here are 3 things I hate – coming up with titles, coming up with excerpts for the main page (the little sentences that appear under the article title on the headlines), and coming up with intros. Usually I can string a BS title together, and for the excerpts I can usually just put what the article’s about, but they’re still a pain in the ass. But none of them are worse than having to write an intro. This is a wrestling website. Why do I need to write an intro? The answer to that, of course, is that the article can’t just jump right in, it needs something to start the natural flow of the narrative. But speaking for myself, I find them awkward to write, and even more awkward to read. In fact, if you DON’T find them awkward to read, then maybe it’s time you re-examined your relationship with wrestling articles. If you need an intro to someone who isn’t in wrestling talking to you about wrestling, then maybe articles are too much for you. Books too, unless they’re the ones with pictures that you can color in.
Anyway, here goes. Chris Jericho returned to WWE this week in a somewhat unusual fashion. NOT unusually, hilarious results ensued on this very website. Most of these comments are taken from Scott Keith’s Smark RAW Supershow Rant, and my personal favorite writer / recapper on Inside Pulse, Andrew Wheeler’s RAW Judicial Review. Video of Jericho’s return for any who haven’t seen it can be found here.
Me personally, I didn’t mind the Jericho thing one bit. It took me a few minutes to realize what was going down, but I actually kind of like that. Rarely can wrestling leave anyone with 10% the sense of pattern recognition of a normal person wondering what’s going on, even for a few minutes. So even though MY confusion was gone by the time Jericho hit the ramp, apparently it wasn’t that obvious for some people. I guess this WWE.com video that they posted cleared it up for mostly everyone. I haven’t seen the video – I don’t need to see it. To me it was pretty obvious what they were doing after the segment was done.
A few years ago, Jericho embarked on a heel turn that was quite well-thought-out. Basically, he said that he could come out and dance around all he wanted, but that in a few years, the fans would still get sick of him. The basis of the heel turn was that wrestling fans are predictable idiots. This return pretty much put the exclamation point on that. Now, he’s going to come out and talk about how everyone who cheered for him was an idiot and must have forgotten the last couple years of his last run. He’s going to talk about how he came out in a goofy jacket and danced around, just like he said he would never do again, and how his return “put one over” on the fans.
Anyway, whether you liked it or not isn’t really the point of this article. I can understand someone not liking it. My point of this article is about how wrestling fans in general can go WAY overboard on their criticism of something, most of the time without really even understanding it. That’s not a blanket statement or anything – certainly there were some people who understood it, and still didn’t like it, and that’s fine. But some people posted some hilarious stuff – on BOTH sides of the argument. Watching the comments go down on this and other websites this week was awesome. It’s like being on the Titanic and being the only person who knows what’s going to happen.
Let’s take a look at some of the funny shit that went down on both sides of the argument.
Owangotang: Whoa easy now, if anything the past RAW just proved to me just how right Blair (and Swayze) has been. It was 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag.
Blair: Speaking for myself and not Swayze, I think RAW has been better than it was over the last year or so. I wouldn’t call it a great show or anything, but they’re at least trying to run some matches now. I suppose that on the flip side, you could argue that the matches are awful. Yeah, I know that the Kane / Cena thing is retarded. I know that this Wade Barrett guy really sucks. I know that Shaemus is desperately trying to stay / pretend that he ever was relevant. But there’s good things too – people are forgetting that Mark Henry ever had a main event run. All Diva matches are terrible, but at least they’re good for a laugh. Punk has been doing pretty good. Daniel Bryan is trying to carry terrible wrestlers like that gangly loser Cody Rhodes to some decent matches. Triple H hasn’t taken up a lot of time on the show for months now. I get that if you weren’t into the Jericho thing, then this show wouldn’t have had much on it for you, but that Ziggler / Punk match seems to have gone over okay at least. I don’t know, am I being too easy on it? Maybe. I just think that on a show where even small improvements are rare, you should appreciate those small improvements. Again, not saying that it’s been a GREAT show or anything.
Owangotang also assumed Jericho was coked up for some reason, even though Jericho has never had any known drug issues, and said he was taking a RAW sabbatical. To his credit, when he saw the video on WWE.com, he recanted, which, is something else wrestling fans are terrible at doing. So good for that dude.
Shamon Of Hedon: And once again Jericho outshines everything the Rock has ever done, pulling the crowd’s string like his own personal puppets, rising, falling, and without ever saying a single word. Suck it DWAYNE. THIS is how you come back to the ‘E.
Blair: Jericho was never half the draw that The Rock was. Sorry. He wasn’t. Not even in the same league. I personally prefer Chris Jericho on the mic and in the ring too, but that statement is laughable. Even Jericho would laugh at you for that one. The Rock is one of the biggest draws that WWE ever had, and now he’s a movie star and drew way more eyes onto WrestleMania than they would have had otherwise. Jericho, a career upper-mid-carder and failed rock star, being back, is not going to do that. A small buyrate and minuscule rating increase, MAYBE, and he’ll likely cut some great promos and have the best match on the card with whoever he works with. And I’m looking forward to seeing that too. But, if you haven’t been paying attention, that’s not what WWE cares about. And even if they did, it still doesn’t put Jericho in the same league as The Rock.
MJKobe: LOL Yeah sure….Come back to a half decent face pop, turn the crowd against you, and leave everyone confused! Yeah that paled into comparison to the Rock coming back to one of the biggest pops since…2004….and then setting the WWE on fire by responding to Cena’s diss.
Blair: You’re an idiot.
Kramer (to ShamonOfHedon): Wow, how delusional. Everybody seems to get that Jericho was pulling a subtle heel turn, not just you. Of course, you must admit that his pop was a small, small fraction of the Rock’s. You and Blair should make a tag team: Canadian, prone to hate speech and self-aggrandizement, and nary an intelligent point to be made.
Blair: I wouldn’t say his pop was a FRACTION of Rock’s, but certainly it was smaller. Kramer, I was surprised too, to see that on Pulse and other sites, there WERE a ton of people who didn’t get it. Remember that wrestling fans tend not to do so well with subtlety most of the time. They wanted Jericho to come out, clear face or clear heel, hit them on the head and tell them who he was going to feud with and why.
Maybe I should be offended about this comment, but truthfully, I’m not surprised that people would assume that I’d hate it. I tend to laugh at a lot of the shit that wrestling companies do, but wrestling companies do a ton of dumb shit, and I laugh at dumb shit, so it’s a pretty safe bet. A lazy bet to be sure, but a safe one, and still not lazier than calling me Canadian (?) and pretending that making fun of wrestling-fan-strangers on the internet is hate speech. Besides, I didn’t hate this. I wasn’t in love with it or anything, but I thought it was good.
Fun fact: I know exactly who made this comment, and while I’m going to take the high road and not mention who it is, he doesn’t normally go by “Kramer”. I’ll give you six guesses, and the first five don’t count.
Zork: I still think Jericho was just playing people on twitter when complaining about people “Stealing his schtick” so to speak. If we’re gonna play that game how many original wrestlers have there actually been since 2000? I’m sure you could go further back than that and point out people like Jericho emulating his favorites too. Plus, a lot of the people he was ripping on he was good friends with so… He’s been playing everyone. Especially with that fit over him not being in the WWE ’12 game.
Blair: Guaranteed that’s what he was doing. Jericho works the internet all the time. During one of his hiatuses from WWE, he posted a picture of himself next to the TNA logo FOR FUN. It was awesome. People went nuts. Then they realized that all that was going on was TNA playing one of Fozzy’s stupid music videos, because even that was something that TNA considered a win. Jericho laughed at the fans and later laughed at TNA.
Now for the really fun part.
E. E. Faulk: With all due respect, I think the people who see Jericho’s return as “trolling the smarks” or “awful” are missing a huge point. In my opinion, Jericho’s return is BRILLIANTLY done. I say “is” because last night wasn’t meant to be seen as a stand-alone event that came and went last night. Last time he left, he was a heel. When he turned on the fans, he said that he could have pandered to the fans forever and they still wouldn’t have loved him as much as HBK. He said that, after enough pandering and dancing, about like a puppet for the fans, that people would tire of him, cut his strings and be done with him. That’s when he changed his character to a self-serving, embittered villain. He’s re-establishing ALL of that by proving everything he said right. After so many minutes of posing and preening for the fans, the cheers faded and turned to boos. He knew that he’d be cheered when he came back, so he got his heel heat back by the ultimate demonstration of why he hates the fans and why his hate’s justified. BRILLIANT. A heel who thinks he’s justified is deep. A heel who IS justified is sympathetic. A heel who goes leaps and bounds out of his way to justify his motives, succeeds and proves himself right and the world wrong is excellent storytelling in action. This isn’t just some troll or two-dimensional “delusional” character. This is the first time in a long time that a WWE heel is being characterized as a complex, evolving character who isn’t just being evil for evil’s sake.
E. E. Faulk: Considering how his turn took place (as described above, not as a 2-d “generic villain who uses big words), I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that there’s an actual reason behind his character’s actions. I think it’s more of a stretch to say that a person with no history of drug abuse was simply “coked out of his gourd,” than to say that a person with a history of creativity and thorough characterization is actually being clever and deepening his character. How does my explanation seem outlandish when the past three years (the motivations of his heel turn, his pursuit of better character-work, and his documented vow to not come back unless he found a way to improve on the story he told in his ’08-10 run) all lend themselves to what I said? Even if I’m not spot on, where does any of this talk about drugs, Punk and “he just wore suits and used big words” come from? Call it the writer in me or simple pattern recognition, but I think I’ll need a little more than a lengthy “nuh-uh” and straw man of Jericho’s character.
ShamanOfHedon: Why is that like only me and apparently 3 other people on earth see exactly what Jericho was doing there? Much as I hate agreeing with Sexist Douchenugget Wheeler about anything, he’s exactly right. Did no one else see the smug evil look on Jericho’s face right before he finally went into the back? THIS is why I commented elsewhere that his return blows the Rock’s away. The Rock gets the easy nostalgia cheers by doing his tired cookie cutter sing-along promos. Jericho has the crowd eating out of his hand and cheering or booing as ever he wants them to without ever saying a word. And that whole thing was clearly EXACTLY what he wanted. He proved without a shadow of a doubt the marks are his puppets and will do what HE wants. Jericho’s return was apparently TOO brilliant, since most idiots think he was just coked-out and none of that was part of any plan. Riiiiiight. Vince is REALLY going to let a guy run around the ring screaming for 10 minutes eating up airtime without a plan. I think we know who’s REALLY coked-out here, and it ain’t Jericho.
I’m going to go ahead and address both of you as one here. I thought the comments from a lot of the people who didn’t get it were dumb. Not necessarily all of the ones above, but the portion of the IWC who spent all week bitching about it. But this is way dumber.
I feel it necessary to mention one more time here that I enjoy Chris Jericho a lot. But you DO realize that Jericho isn’t making this shit up on his own, right? Nor did he make up the character of a couple years ago. Nor did he come up with this storyline. Maybe he had some input into what happened. Maybe he even came up with some of the lines.
But no one shows up to WWE and just DECIDES what they’re going to do.
* Begin simulation. Last Monday, Chris Jericho shows up to the arena and heads to his dressing room. *
CHRIS JERICHO: Man, I’m back! It seems like just yesterday that I…
* Evan Bourne walks in. *
EVAN BOURNE: Hey, Chris! Great to see you!
JERICHO: Who the fuck are you?
EVAN: It’s me! Evan!
JERICHO: Evan? Evan who?
EVAN: Evan Bourne!
JERICHO: Who the fuck is Evan Bourne?
EVAN: I’m Evan Bourne!
JERICHO: … no, I know, but I mean like… who is Evan Bourne?
EVAN: … I… I’m…
JERICHO: … right. Right, sorry. I guess I was just startled to see you in my dressing room. Ethan. I remember.
EVAN: It’s Evan.
JERICHO: No, I don’t think it is.
ETHAN: … so… have you decided what you’re going to do tonight?
JERICHO: Well Ethan, I figure I’m going to go out, do a babyface return, then milk it for way too long, then leave without saying a word. I’m going to smile like an asshole on the way back too, so that people will know what I’m doing. Then I’m going to go to WrestleMania to feud as a heel with CM Punk.
ETHAN: Wow, that’s an awesome idea! But, do you want to run that by Vince or Tripl…
JERICHO: Fuck no! They’ll want to put me against Mark Henry or some other laughable goof that they’ve been pretending belongs in the big picture. I need to work with real stars.
MARK HENRY: I’m in here, you know. I can hear you.
ETHAN: And I think they already have plans for CM Punk for ‘Mania, so maybe you should ask Vin…
JERICHO: SHUT THE FUCK UP ETHAN AND GET ME A PEPSI!!!
HENRY: Yeah, try not to do a backflip off the vending machine while you’re at it.
* Jericho and Henry share a hearty laugh as Evan leaves the room. *
JERICHO: Mark, tell me what else they have on the show tonight. I assume I’m going on last?
HENRY: No, on last they have Cena saving Zack Ryder from being dragged under the ring by Kane.
JERICHO: Fucking seriously?
JERICHO: Holy shit. Well, go tell Vince that I’m going to do this, and that I’m fighting Punk at ‘Mania.
HENRY: On my way, Chris!
* Henry stands there. *
JERICHO: … what the fuck? Go! Try not to pull your groin while you’re at it.
HENRY: I am going!
JERICHO: You’re just standing there!
HENRY: This is actually as fast as I can move.
* End simulation. *
Is that how you think it goes? No. Before they even CONSIDER bringing Jericho back, they have a plan for him. Now, Jericho is an older, established guy, so he probably has some say. And he might even have to agree to what they’re asking him to do. But at the end of the day, if he wants the money, he needs to do what they’re telling him. That’s just all there is to it. Maybe he decides specifically what he says, or how he chooses to act this out. But at the end of the day, he needs to make the angle go where WWE wants it to go.
It’s like CM Punk earlier this year. Maybe he said a few things he wasn’t supposed to say, or maybe WWE came up with the whole thing. But even if it was Punk speaking out of turn, he was still steering the angle where WWE told him to steer it. Because that’s his job. And he likes his job, and he likes the money it pays, so he doesn’t want to get fired. It’s not supernatural.
You’re just confused. Chris Jericho gets credit for ACTING OUT what was written. That’s what he gets. And he can have that, because Jericho is good at that stuff. Not just anyone can do what Jericho does. But he didn’t come up with it. And he didn’t decide on whatever it is that he’s doing in WWE now. Yes, he did well with it. But that doesn’t mean he came up with it.
Wrestling is a scripted entertainment show. It’s not like David Duchovny showed up after getting the role on Californication and said “I’ve decided that this show is just going to be me fucking hot sluts all day.” And just because you see a BMW parked outside a Pizza Hut, doesn’t mean that Pizza Hut is a nice restaurant all of a sudden. It just means that there’s a coke dealer in there who wanted a P’Zone.
I will leave you with this word on the subject.
Swayze: Really, who cares? The main thing is that Jericho is back. Do you remember what he was doing before he left? The guy was having awesome matches with midcarders on NXT! Who does that?!? The guy is a great wrestler with a wealth of experience, and we will probably get to see some great matches out of him in the near future.
Well, that’s it for another thrilling instalment of Interinactivity. Fuck, do I hate that title. Anyway, if that or reading the inane ramblings of wrestling fans wasn’t enough humor for you, I give you this. You’re welcome.
I’ll be in my trailer.
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